No, but winter covers protect your pool from stains, algae growth and poor water balance that could damage pool surfaces. Pool covers block both debris and sunlight, to conserve your winter chemicals and protect soft and shiny surfaces.
Pool Closing Mistake 1: Skipping the Pool Cover
For one thing, an uncovered pool will become a catch-all for leaves and debris. Those leaves will spend all winter stewing away in the bottom of your pool. In the spring, you'll be welcomed with a nasty, sludgy mess.
If you don't cover your above-ground pool, it's going to get dirt, leaves, and other debris in it. Even if you don't have any trees nearby, the wind will still blow debris into the water.
Fundamentally, swimming pool covers protect your pool from falling or blowing debris and can protect against pool related accidents. Covering your pool will also protect the shell of your pool in colder weather, making it less likely to crack than it would without a cover.
Covering a pool when it is not in use is the single most effective means of reducing pool heating costs. Savings of 50%–70% are possible. Pool covers on indoor pools not only can reduce evaporation but also the need to ventilate indoor air and replace it with unconditioned outdoor air.
Pool pipes that are located above-ground can crack if the pump is not kept running when temperatures reach below 32°. If PVC pipes freeze, the ice will expand and can crack pipes, pumps, valves, filters, and heaters.
If you have an above-ground pool with a vinyl pool liner, drain the pool to about 1 inch below the bottom of the skimmer mouth. It's acceptable to drain the pool a few more inches below that if you live in an area that gets heavy precipitation during the winter months.
CCS polypropylene mesh tarps are the best tarp for pool covers. They do an exceptional job blocking sunlight, which is essential for preventing algae growth when chemicals are not being added regularly. Polypropylene tarps are strong, too, so they can withstand the weight of ice and snow that builds up over the winter.
A chlorinated swimming pool freezes at around 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the same temperature as non-chlorinated water.
If you have an above ground pool with the pool filter system and plumbing above ground (like nearly all above ground pools), pipes and pumps can freeze up in less than an hour of minus 32 degrees.
Depending on the size of your pool, we still recommend the pump run 8-10 hours per day during the hottest summer months and at least 6 hours per day during the winter months.
Insulate plumbing lines with blankets or towels to prevent freezing. Even pool noodles can serve as good insulation around pipes. Open all lines to ensure proper water flow. If a valve is shut off, no water will flow through that pipe, and there is the danger of freezing damage.
“We expect people to be calling about broken PVC pipes, broken check valves and regular valves from the ice,” he said. “The valves, as long as the water is moving through, they're going to be fine. If water slows down enough or stops the valves will fill with ice and they'll burst and break.”
If the pool is already frozen more than 1/2″ thick, wait for a bit of a thaw before lowering, or break up the ice first before and while lowering the water level. For safety pool covers, be careful not to lower the pool more than 12″ below the tile line.
The point of running your pool pump in the winter is to keep your water moving, which prevents it from freezing should temperatures get too low. So ideally, run your pump (and keep it running) whenever temperatures start getting close to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the freezing point of water.
Clear pipes and equipment of water using a blower or compressor and plug the pipes at the pool. Add swimming pool antifreeze to the lines to prevent freezing. Place a Gizzmo* (or similar device) in the skimmer to seal it and absorb pressure from ice.
Your pool water level should not be too low, as the water must support the cover in situations where you receive a heavy snowfall. At the same time, ideally you don't want the water to touch the underside of the cover under general conditions as that contact will create a wet spot where debris will accumulate.
Winter Pool Cover: A plain cover (sometimes even just a tarp) laid over the pool, and secured on the deck with water-filled bags. On above ground pools, a winter cover sits on top of the pool and is secured to the walls with cable tied through grommets and tightened with a winch.
In warmer climates, Intex advises to keep your pool up, if you prefer. However, you must winterize the pool when keeping it full throughout the winter. If your area maintains tropical climates all year long, you may not need to winterize your pool at all, especially if you use your pool on a regular basis.